Reigning MVP Joel Embiid hopes to recover from his left knee before the start of the playoffs


Joel Embiid was playing at an MVP level right before he suffered his injury, as he had taken the Sixers to the Eastern Conference’s second place by the end of January. Now that the team has dropped to 5th place in the standings without him, the big man hopes to return as soon as possible to guide Philadelphia through the playoffs.

However, when will the 76ers center finally recover from an injured lateral meniscus in his left knee? The superstar already had surgery and should be reevaluated in the coming weeks, but he still has no timeline for his return.

“That’s the plan. Obviously, everything has to go right as far as getting healthy … but that’s the plan. There’s really no timeline,” Joel shared this Thursday when attending the press. “You can never tell how the body reacts, especially once you start ramping up. It all depends on how it feels.”

“I want to play basketball. I want to be on the floor as much as possible. I only have about 20 years to do this,” Embiid expressed. “Any chances that I get, I want to be on the floor. It doesn’t matter where we are. I don’t know, four, five, three, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, it doesn’t really matter where we are, I just want to play as much as we can and try and help us.”

Without their main man, Philly are 4-8 and have depended on Tyrese Maxey to lead the squad in his absence. However, Joel had already missed other games throughout the season, and they are 7-17 overall without him on court.

As Philadelphia must endure the second-toughest remaining schedule against contenders like the Heat, Pacers and Magic, 16 of their final 24 games are against teams with winning records. His coach Nick Nurse is also optimistic about Embiid’s upcoming return.

“We are certainly hopeful of a return and as soon as possible and all that stuff,” the Sixers tactician said yesterday. “I think our job remains to try and see what we can do to get these guys better. We know he’s going to slot right back in there and we make sure we figure out the right pieces around him. The right sets, style, all that stuff around him. The right defensive schemes around him.”

Maxey embraces leadership role in Embiid’s absence: ‘I feel I was made for this’

Despite Tyrese leading the pack with grace, he can’t help but wonder when his co-star Joel will heal from a repaired knee. “I hope the big guy hurries back,” he said laughing. “But I feel confident being put in this situation. I feel like I’m made for this.”

Sixers coach Nurse recognizes his improvement both as a passer and with his defense. However, one of his biggest inspirations remains in Harden, who Tyrese admitted still has a great relationship with. “James and I still talk to this day,” the 23-year-old said.

“He tells me, ‘Man, when I watch you, I knew this was coming. I know a lot of people didn’t, but I did.’ Ben believed in me, too. I love those guys. Not because they didn’t come back. Because they believed in me. Same for Joel. I think about it every day, how the situation changed and created opportunities for me. Every day,” Maxey shared.

For now, the reigning MVP will have to be patient, although he’s certain he knows how to contribute to his team’s success. “I know that 60 or 70% of me can still help the team, a lot, on both ends of the floor,” Embiid said.